Yes.  The Sooners were shut out by Texas this weekend.  Something that has not happened since 1965 and in all likelihood will happen again at some point.  I have always marveled how involved spectators can get with commentary after a sporting event.  Advice is freely flowing on what they should have done, criticism aimed toward various coaches or often past coaches.  People call into radio stations, social media, write magazine articles and have TV commentary with such verve that you would expect that the coaching staff is listening and taking notes.  Tempers soar as I have witnessed in many post OU-Texas games as well as others. Economy even drops when certain football teams don’t perform well.

In all this football spectator action, we are missing some of the most valuable lessons that the coaches and football players demonstrate to us week after week.  Perhaps if we practiced even a portion of what they demonstrate on a regular basis we will be able to navigate life with less drama and more peace.  READ ON to learn 5 tips that losing a football game has taught me and you should learn too….

Every week whether or not a team loses there is prolific commentary on what was done wrong.  Immediately after a game the coach and players are in the spotlight with the media to comment on what went wrong.  Can you imagine being interviewed on national television immediately after playing your heart out and suffering the agony of defeat and expecting to be calm, poised, complimentary of the opponent and have relevant observations?  The questions and comments aren’t over that day, they continue the entire week until the next game and often certain plays get brought up the entire season as a constant reminder of what went wrong. Yet, the coaches and players stand up, shake it off and start preparing for the next game.  Here are the lessons that I admire from their dedication…

     1.  Tune out the commentary in your life. Spectators offer often vicious commentary after a game which is always interesting because there is not one single thing they could have done to influence the outcome differently and yet the way everyone discusses it is as if the coaches are listening and considering all the different opinions.  It’s amazing how many different suggestions people can have about what we are doing in our lives.  Well meaning friends, family and even acquaintance’s opinions often have a significant impact on how we perceive ourselves.  Coaches and players alike have to learn to tune it out. They have to focus on whose opinion they really value and only that.   Who do you need to tune out?  Figure out whose opinion you really value and only listen to them.  Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be the same person for every situation.  Obviously, when playing defense the defensive coordinator should have more weight than an offensive coordinator.  Even though they are on the same team it becomes important to step back and consider the source and then make decisions that incorporates what you’ve learned.  Who is on your team offering advice?  Choose them wisely and blot out the rest.

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     2.  After every game evaluate what went wrong. The minute a game is over the team starts evaluating what happened in certain plays.  Playbacks are reviewed and the team reviews footage to understand why something didn’t work and the mistakes that were made not to reprimand but to discuss and develop strategies on how to avoid them in the future.  Then they let it go and move on to discussing what their strategy will be for the next week.  This is an important life lesson.  Evaluate what went wrong, identify what you could have done differently and then work on changing it.  Don’t keep hitting the replay button.  You can’t change what happened in the past, you can only work on making the future different by learning what you did wrong and then change how you handle that situation or a similar situation in the future.

     3.  After every game evaluate what went right. We often forget to take time to applaud what went right in our lives.  Sports does this by highlighting plays of the week that showcase an incredible play.  What if we took a moment in our week to celebrate an amazing “play” in our week?

     4.  Always have cheerleaders. I know many of you are going what?  Yes, I was guilty of being a cheerleader in high school.  It didn’t matter if my team was winning or losing, I was on the side-line rooting them on.  We planned on ways to do fun things for the players each week to help them.  Maybe this wasn’t as important for the players as it was for the fans to see that someone was always trying to cheer them on.  Later in life this has helped me cheer you on.  I know how HARD it is to make big and lasting changes so part of my job is to encourage you to believe in yourself that you can accomplish these hard changes.  Maybe your cheerleader is your spouse, your friends or your work place.  Find at least one cheerleader in your life that will positively encourage you when things get tough and lift you up during difficult times.

     5.  Move on. Sports players don’t have much time to dwell on a bad game because the next week there is another one.  It’s time to focus on the next strategy, learn new plays and get back in the mindset of “game on”.  We all make mistakes.  Things often don’t go as planned.  Evaluate what went wrong, evaluate what went right and learn from these things and MOVE ON!  Yes, easier said than done but if we at least think like this we might be able to take baby steps in that direction!

Obviously, each sport has similar lessons that can be translated into everyday life lessons.  Think about which ones you need to embrace.  I will be here cheering you on!

To your health,